Speaking to a group of apartment owners and developers Thursday in San Francisco, Gov. Jerry Brown said he is increasingly skeptical that a tax deal can be struck by July 1. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images / June 23, 2011)

By Anthony York and Shane Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times
June 24, 2011

Reporting from San Francisco and Sacramento — Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday he was increasingly skeptical that a tax deal could be struck before the July 1 beginning of the new fiscal year, as Democrats and Republicans heatedly blamed each other for the impasse.

Brown, who issued a historic veto of Democrats’ budget plan a week ago, told a gathering of about 250 apartment owners and developers in San Francisco that he continues to seek GOP support for his budget plan, which includes a tax referendum in the fall.

“I’m not giving up,” Brown said, even if he has grown less sanguine about the prospect of a legislative accord.

Although state Controller John Chiang this week invoked a new law to halt lawmakers’ pay until there’s a budget in place, the renewed commotion in the Capitol has produced little progress.

A critical sticking point is that Brown wants to extend sales and vehicle taxes — which Republicans oppose — until an election can be held. He needs the support of at least four GOP lawmakers for both moves. If he fails, the governor said, he will help gather signatures to place taxes on the ballot next year.

“It will take the use of the initiative, in all probability,” he said, to restore California’s financial health.

With talks slipping and time running out, Republicans held an unusual news conference outside the doors of the governor’s Capitol office to blame Brown and his labor supporters for the lack of progress.

“The public unions and the governor have become the problem in this, not the Republicans,” said Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar).

The GOP lawmakers said Brown had failed to deliver sufficiently on the pension and spending policy concessions they have demanded in exchange for supporting an election.

“The reason that there is no budget deal is that the governor and the Democratic majority in the Legislature and their allies refuse to allow the voters the opportunity to reform pensions and control state overspending,” said Senate Minority Leader Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga).

Brown retorted that Republicans have adopted “a rejectionist posture.”

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